Connecting Our Students

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Connecting Our Students

The use of computers in learning is nothing new. Over the last 20 years we have seen standalone desk top machines in libraries, followed by computer labs and computers in Technology areas and more recently banks of laptops for student use. In 2008, the newly elected Labour Government introduced the Digital Education Revolution committing over $2billion into increasing the ratio of computers to students, but in schools the computer is only as good as the network infrastructure behind it. Over the last few years the ICT team at Bunbury Grammar has been developing this infrastructure to provide one of the fastest internet connections in the area, enabling the School to move towards One to One provision for all students.

Early in 2014 a multidisciplinary team formed to design a new model of digital learning for the Secondary School. Central to this discussion was the manner in which computers would be made available to students. Research was conducted and deliberations around device form and make were complemented by discussions focusing on policy and procedures to ensure the implementation was effective and smooth. The technical issues of connectivity across the campus and safety were addressed and by August the team were in a position to provide recommendations. The Connect Programme was born.

Throughout the planning process we were clear that this was not just about providing laptop devices to individual students; more importantly the Connect Programme would provide new opportunities for learning and teaching.

Fast forward twelve months and it is now normal to see students carrying their laptops to classes. Many students access text books on-line, reducing the need to carry heavy books and the delivery of courses through the School’s Learning Management System - Moodle - is now commonplace. Although writing remains important, the use of e-books is becoming more usual. ‘Gamification’ of learning (the use of computer game style online activities to teach and reinforce content) is happening with students using digital content such as MangaHigh in Mathematics to supplement more traditional book work. Email is now the predominantly used method for communication between students and teachers beyond the classroom, replacing paper notes.

Looking forward to the next twelve months, the notion of the ‘Flipped Classroom’ is becoming a possibility. Instead of students taking notes in a lecture style lesson, content can be accessed on Moodle prior to the class, through the use of videos or other resources. This allows lesson time to be devoted to students exploring and developing their understanding by tackling problems, engaging in discussion and Visible Thinking activities. Homework and classwork can be submitted to teachers digitally and online quizzes can provide instant feedback to help students gauge their progress. The Connect Programme continues to excite us with possibilities as we continue to develop teaching and learning in the digital age.